September 2014


Stockton Parish Church

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7 fun facts about our church home:

STOCKTON PARISH CHURCH

1. The settlement began in ‘Stoctun’ in the Anglo-Saxon period. (‘Stoc’ names usually indicate farms which belonged to a manor/religious house.)

2. The parish has been active for 302 years! (The foundation stone was laid in 1705 and the building was completed in 1712.)

3. The first sermon preached was on the text “My house will be a house of prayer”. (The parish is still a powerful house of prayer today!)

4.  A third of the congregation are asylum seeker’s from Iran (Asylum Seeker = Someone who leaves their country, often for political reasons or war, petitioning for government protection and residence in another country)

5. Half of our youth group came to Stockton from Malawi, Africa. 

6. There are over 13 nationalities represented at the parish.

7. Six years ago, the Stockton Parish Church had less than 20 attendants, mostly elderly. The doors of the church were nearly shut when God breathed life into its dry bones–the parish is now one of the most thriving churches in the Tees Valley.

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A quick update on our new beginnings: September 7th was our first Sunday at the parish. (Our second day in the UK). The church’s welcome was overwhelmingly positive–every person we came in contact with lit up with joy and refreshed our spirits.

I was particularly encouraged to hear that the parish had been praying for us for months.  In fact, before we had even applied to work in England, the parish had been praying for God to provide them with a couple.  It’s wild to think that we were an answer to a people’s prayers 5,000 miles across the ocean. Our God is great! 

After communion and during worship, Brian and I had tears welling up in our eyes as the peace and presence of God swept over us. We were exactly where we needed to be.

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about SPC. We are truly humbled to be on staff at such a lively, Jesus-centered church and we thank God for sending us to Stockon-on-Tees.  It is an honor to be a part of what He is doing here!!!

“Punctuation Saves Lives” – Psalm 46:10

Earlier this week, the “verse of the day” on Youversion was Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God:”

It is one of the more well-known Psalms; in fact, if you were to say, “Be still AND…” –many people could finish the phrase, “…Know that I am God.”  Yet, very few know, or are even aware of this beloved Bible verse being contextually  “incomplete.”  Notice the punctuation mark.

It’s a colon. Not a period.

What’s a period’s usage? To announce the end or completion of something.

Psalm 46:10 does not use a period because the verse isn’t finished. It’s not the end. It’s not complete.

After the colon, the verse continues on and God declares, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth.”

What’s a colon’s usage ?? To prove, explain, define, or describe the elements of what preceded it.  Because this complete sentence, “be still and know that I am God,” precedes a colon, we can gather that the explanation of why we must know Him as God is to “exalt Him among the nations.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

Knowing God and making Him known will always be interwoven. It is the mandate (and joy) of every believer. Simply put, it’s The Great Commission. (Go. Make disciples. All nations. Baptize. Teach.)

John Piper puts it this way, “Evangelism means depicting the beauty of Christ and His saving work with a heartfelt urgency of love that labors to help people find their satisfaction in Him.”

So, why does punctuation save lives? 

1.) Punctuation matters here because if we had missed the colon, then we would have missed the point–beholding God’s glory, rejoicing in it, and bringing others into the same joy that we found in Him. I feel that God’s instruction in Psalm 46:10 is less about our own “peace of mind” and comfort, and more about exalting Him in all the earth.

1.) Punctuation matters because the saving, sanctifying, authoritative Word of God came to us  in the form of a book–filled with fixed letters, wordssentences and yes, punctuation.  The Bible is God-breathed, inspired revelation. With that said, we must also believe that every word He chose was on purpose, and that even the punctuation has a deeper meaning.

As I am hours away from departing to England, my prayer is that we, as the Body of Christ, do not neglect our responsibility to The Great Commission. As The Church draws nearer to Christ in unity, feeling His heartbeat for lost and dying souls, we realize that we are all serving one King and one kingdom. Be encouraged today as we seek to obey His will together.

Exalting Him,

Morgan Morris

 

 

Our Wedding Film

“Love is patient, kind, humble, selfless, forgiving, & trustworthy. Love never fails.” I Corinthians 13

I am absolutely delighted to share our wedding film with you. :) Folks, we are called to an unfailing love by the One whose love will never, ever fail.  Christ’s love is relentless. He is the ultimate example of true love.  I thank God every day for a husband whose love is not conditional and I’m choosing him forever.

Joyfully, Morgan Morris

(Destination: Marco Island, FL ~ Stylist: Kylie Swanson ~ Videographers: http://penweddings.com)